Category Archives: Blog Entries

Sock It to ME?!

There’s no good way to schedule time for writing when you work two jobs and can’t anticipate when you’ll be calm enough to compose. However, I was able to make a transition chapter work yesterday without knowing what to do beforehand. It’s easy to get anxious about not knowing where to take the story from a specific point. That’s what happened with My City By the Bay. That book should have been published in 2013. It was not and that’s the way it is, Cronkite. I still have it on my hard drive somewhere, but I’d like to at least finish this current piece before I die.

I could find myself blaming my two jobs for my inability to sit down and write, or the fact I could go from functioning one day to exhausted the next, or that my equipment is severely second-hand (i.e. keys are starting to break, AC adapter and battery failure, etc.), or my house is ill-suited for writing. While problematic, no one could argue otherwise, I have been dealt the cards of this situation and really have no other option but to play them. Every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser. Right, Rogers?

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I plan on typing the pages I’ve written tonight and it’s probably a decent idea to revise the previous chapters to include things I’ve left out, such as the name for the currency and the like. With that indifference, I say “sock it to me.”

More from my book:

Pooling rain makes small rivers down the path on the way back, sometimes large enough to slow down the wagon with the slurping and sucking of mud. Boards ramp up the wheels in the more difficult areas for us to move forward. At times, Molvin provides counterweight around the trees as a last ditch effort to save the load. Our relief finds its way through a round grate off the path, set in the webbing of a massive root system. Pounding three times, a voice shrieks from behind the iron.

“What is low, strong and moves all night long?” the banshee demanded.

“Your mother, Analeese, now let us in!” I stop mid-belch to clear the sour mash from my throat while wincing. The cowl of my cloak caves in and pours water all over my face. I grimace.

Analeese comes sliding outside like her ass is on fire. “Damn the gods, Jeshkin, quit being an asshole!” She rolls the lids right. Passing her, I wink with my right eye and show fillings in a wide smile. She hisses. There are times she claims her mother was raped by an anaconda and embodies the strength of the constrictor. I think she does it to intimidate people. She places the circle into its original position and pulls the arm back down onto the brackets.

Copyright © 2016 Corvidae in the Fields

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Does This Depression Make Me Look Fat?

I think it has been a bittersweet couple of weeks. There needs to be more activity here, and so I should provide it. The bitter part is staring down the barrel of Winter. However, the sweet part was seeing my high school friend and his wife in Madison, WI a weekend ago. Grass always seems greener when you walk off your property, which is usually used (I’ve noticed) to discourage you from doing something new. I think it’s better used as fair warning, to really make sure you’re making a calculated risk. Anyone travel anywhere recently?

The other sweet part is I have written some more. The sentences aren’t strung as cleverly as I enjoy, but I’m trying to keep Kurt Vonnegut’s advice in my head:

Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

And a chunk of what I’ve been writing:

We stop near a large portcullis and even larger pegged wheel, and I stare at Molvin until he wiggles out of his nest in the back. Grabbing the moist boards of the wheel, he cranks and grunts for the better part of a minute. The barely-lit sewer painted a lively picture which entertained me as I listened to his incessant bitching. Water reflected movement all around me, and slid across the walls of the sewer from the manmade river underground. The long pools wave in strange formations.

Inside and out, the moving wall mosaic had a pleasant rhythm, exciting and returning for encore. The grunting mule behind me was too busy to observe anything. Balancing himself horizontal to the ground by his stomach, he crunches his stomach a few times in a fruitless wiggle. The best that comes of it is a clinks of the chains wrapped around the wheel.

Two tunnels down, the lights stop. It shimmers momentarily and stops again. Staring made the made the light return. Returning my attention to Molvin, I whip my head back to the same spot. Black. “Move,” I mutter, “move, move, move, please move.”

“Ye git dan h’re an’ help den, Jesh!” Molvin’s ruddy face cranes from its parallel position to shout profanity at me and I jump out of the driver seat.

“Damn the gods, Molvin, do I have to do everything myself?” Maybe that was my anxiety getting the better of me but there’s no retraction after that.

“I s’pose ye do, now help!” Quitting the acrobat routine Molvin crouches at the rotten straw near the mechanism.

“Fine, if it gets us closer to the bath house.” Sliding down the seat my approach to the wheel is quicker than I would normally perform. Waiting for Molvin to stop his intermittent bitching, I dig my feet hard into the rocks. The portcullis moves in screams as we strain to roll the wheel in motion. A feeling of nausea tingles in my nose as I close my eyes softly and whimper but we continue until a pawl prevents it from falling at the top. The halls return to the quiet display it once was. Swallowing hard, little prompts me to press on through the gate.

Copyright © 2016 Corvidae in the Fields

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The Foaming Action Means He’s Working

It never fails, or cease to surprise me that I make a few posts to get back into the swing of things and the universe decides to pull me apart. That’s not an excuse, but an explanation nonetheless. I had the most ambitious of personal lists on the three-day time span: outside lighting to install, a yard to clean, clothes to launder, and books to write. I gained such momentum I crashed completely into a brick wall producing a solid paragraph of new material. [Insert Expletive Here]

The relative peace brought by the Labor Day weekend rallied a fierce week of deadlines and customer service challenges making my calves hurt more than getting stood up on your Prom night for Gary, the more well-to-do son of a chiropractor. That’s where I keep most of my stress, and I need to sit down after a while of brooding over people and their obstacles. Side Note: Kelly, I’m glad you showed me your true colors quickly.

So, as I said, I only made a paragraph’s progress on Sunday. That’s pitiful. In lieu of providing anything new to me, how about something new (mostly) to you? Here’s an excerpt from when I was writing back in March.

“Every lump on your face will match that of your gravy!” The sous-chef slapped his saucier enough to make eyes water. His stubs wrenched the pot and heaved it towards an open window. “Make it again, and quick. We’re already an hour behind.” A cuisinier snuck a peek over the stove to catch a ladle in the face. “If this night doesn’t go well, it doesn’t take me to tell you we’ll all be dead by morning.” This made for a typical event night with Gerard Grossecul shading a boundary between fact and melodrama as he explosively smacked the tile on his way to the dining room.

Screams rattled the pins on the sewing desk and down the hall straight out through the wood and iron latticed doors of the estate’s couture house. Mostly bare, a handmaiden scrambled for the chamber door only to be clocked by a half-clothed mannequin. Gathering herself, and the rest of her garments, off the floor she hid behind the wardrobe. The Seamstress Premier Naedlbán took up her shears and pointed it at the wimping wench. “If you can’t sew these seems properly I’ll rip you apart and show you!” Spoiling her tin of threaded spools, she charged at the young lady and buried her scissors in the knotted woodwork. Slowly creeping to the fresh face she whispered, “…and if that doesn’t work, I’ll cut those wretched fingers off. They aren’t doing you any good.”

I’m sure I’ll need to re-read the whole thing once it’s completed in draft format, but it seems to fit together enough that I don’t feel like scrapping the whole thing.

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Why the long face, Mr. Horse?

“I have a face for radio.”

I heard that joke while trying to fit in the NYC music industry a lifetime ago. The joke was so amusing to me that it has found its way into my current life with the same fresh enthusiasm as which it first started. People have recently told me I should work the airwaves, and I have not hesitated to rip open the flavor seal on that line every time.

Like most comedy, its kernels of truth get stuck in teeth like the remnants of a movie popcorn bucket. My fleshy, dour visage often dominates conversations with twinges of unrelenting disillusionment and disbelief. That’s not TV personality material, nor is it the “good ol’ boy” behavior the average American requires to feel secure in their way of life. That is not happiness, not mine anyway. Happiness may be a frame of mind, but I have yet to find its craft gallery. I understand that is my own cross to bear, but do I not have the right to express it?

For several months, I’ve tried another avenue to grow and succeed. I don’t think anyone has to leave for a new location to change their current situation in life. However, when the chips are down, doesn’t it seem like a great option? Being the personality I am, I take my endeavors seriously and with such dedication and fervor that I could rip apart the mediocre with fiery assertions. The security blanket is flung off, and discomfort chills the body.

…but I’m effective, and that’s why I’m useful.

I also make great personal sacrifices to the ignorance of my associates. While not all of the story, this endeavor has chewed up time to compose new articles to post here. While a path that is wracked with obscurity, I can at least feel a modicum of accomplishment here. A lasting accomplishment.

So, as I sit here, fuming over my current resources (or lack thereof), I wonder what is worth anything. The spurned, desperately trying to avoid misanthropy and bitterness. Maybe it’s better to simply be self-interested and do what I please. Others around me have no qualms in doing such.

“I’m tired of this back-slappin’ ‘isn’t humanity neat’ bullshit. We’re a virus with shoes.” ~ Bill Hicks

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Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

I’ve tried to quit smoking. I really have. There have been several times I’ve torn up a mostly-full pack and thrown away the lighter. Other times I’ve woken up with pain in my ribs, vowing never to light up again. Yet, here I sit this morning after being outside with another menthol.

It’s hard, at times, to accept the root causes for me to do something so dangerous. Other times, I just don’t care. Why am I “saving” myself? After decades of bad timing or poor fits that I’ll find someone I can share this pent-up love? I’ll be wealthy enough to travel the world and not give a flip about paying the bills? I can go anywhere and feel like a friend? As society sits right now, I doubt it. I’m being trampled by other people’s ambition and their human nature.  A nature of all the vices and judgment they swear not to do, yet commit all the same. They call them “rights”.

Smoking is my seppuku. I’ve dishonored my master, America, and not bought into the aggressiveness that wins her favor. It’s a savage thought that is considered “healthy” by her. It’s a ruthlessness that she smiles upon. “Grab her! Take her! She doesn’t understand anything else!” Lady Liberty chides with rusted teeth. “You are animal! She is animal! She demands assertion!” …and so she rewards.

Reserved in nature. Virtuous in spirit. Prudence in money. Controlled in temper. These are all Holy wafers that burn upon the skull of the red, white, and blue madam. They are all treated in suspect and shied away as a Nosferatu would garlic.

I would like to remain positive. I would like to give the people of this world a false sense of hope, as movies and books do. It makes them feel less guilty, less culpable, and they can go back to their business as usual. However, I’m not sure that can happen. Bad things happen to good people.

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Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Once again, I circle the blackened sky like a bat. I get myself so worked up in the morning and early afternoon that by evening I fall asleep only to wake up at midnight or so. It’s not so bad, I guess. It’s the not the rhythm of diurnal beings such as typical humans, but at least a late-night drive is filled with light scents of flowers and burnt wood.

Last night I was having a tonic and reading at Fricker’s. It’s just a sports bar, but it has a patio. That part I like very much. However, I happened to be visited by my friend, and master potter, Eliseo. We always have a good conversation, and I appreciate him being in such a simple area.

We talked about many things, mostly art related, but last night’s discussion dabbled in Kokology. This is the study of  心, or in English terms kokoro (“mind” or “spirit”). Its a way of discussing a person’s personality, and how they see the world. This was done in a basic three-part question and answer session called “the Cube test.” The narrator asks the following questions and interprets an understanding of the person answering them:

1. You are alone in a desert. There is a cube near you. What does it look like?

2. There is also a ladder around. What does it look like?

3. There is also a horse around. What does it look like?

Instead of giving away the answers (mine or what the metaphors mean) I’d like to try something. If you would indulge me, please write down the answer to these questions in the comments section of this entry. I’ll put trust in you to not look anything up on the Internet, rather tell me the images that come to your mind first.

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Sunday, May 25th, 2014 – Why Do You Write?

It would seem bad form not to tell you the results of my letter writing campaign to the Ohio House of Representatives. Out of 99 representatives contacted, only 4 had replied with an actual response. There were 5 others who had the auto-response system set up, but that’s not really acceptable. Of those 4 representatives who took the time to respond, only one was longer than two sentences. Even though he wasn’t my district representative, I enjoyed our conversation. Funny how ten sentences can brighten one’s day.

Now, on with the blog hop as requested by Laura Lynn from  Cancer: My Journey Back to Health-Kicking & Screaming the Whole Damn Way. Yeah, it’s a chain post and I’m not huge on them, but it’s Laura Lynn. She has been nice to me for as long as I’ve known her.

What am I working on?

In the short-term nothing. I’ve picked up a new organization (BNI) in April, which has some elements of Kiwanis/Rotary International without the community outreach element. I think of it as a business dating service where the “dates” are referred business. You get to know and trust the people in your group and refer clients in need of member services to them. Most members are local merchants anyway. So, you’re helping out people in your community get more business to stay in business. This has taken much of my time in the past five weeks, and I don’t regret it.

In the long-term, I’ve always got My City by the Bay, which I haven’t finished. It’ll need a new title (sorry, Steve Perry). I stopped when I hit a logic gap in a pursuit scene. The back of my mind has been telling me that no seasoned detective would let the suspect drive off after he visited his girlfriend’s apartment. They could question the girlfriend later, if they lose him but they need to follow the suspect further. Personally, with all of the writing improvements I’ve learned in the past year, I’d like to rework the entire story including a VERY edgy part that dealt with bigotry and racism in the non-lofty, street-level, day-to-day sense.

Too many Americans want to take this topic and make it all lofty, when the application is so flawed we [Americans] can’t even see straight. I like the overall premise of the chapter and the ending, but there’s an even harder uppercut I need to swing. I felt like I was gingerly dancing around the point, even though I jumped straight into the lake.

Aside from that, there’s the flash fiction that I’ve become somewhat adept at writing. While I have practiced at it for a few months, it seems the most natural of all types of fiction to write. I do want to be a novelist. I love developing stories and characters and starting fresh in a new book. I don’t like sequels. I think that’s the author’s way of being lazy. If my work ever goes public, the powers-that-be would have to be very convincing for me to write a sequel to any of my non-existent books.

Although I’ve never mentioned it here, there is another novel idea I’ve shelved months ago. I’ve desperately tried to keep it away from the Young Adult genre, but in a late-night cabal of wannabe writers another has said “yeah, that has YA written all over it.” Damn it!

How Does My Writing Differ?

At this point in time, does any current writer have much difference? We’re all variations on a theme. Millennia of authors pouring out pages upon pages of stories have covered so much, it’s difficult not to be seen as a writer who came before. Is there really much anymore to differ? I suppose I could say I have a better knack for coming up with people’s names than I’ve seen with others writers, but that’s not much. I’d leave the identification of difference to the reader. I suppose that’s why they’d read my material? They’d know better than I would.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

Mostly because I don’t want my life to be a “series of beige incidents” as coined by Patton Oswalt. I want something to be here when I leave. I don’t want to wake up 85 and have nothing to show for myself, except an oxygen tank and tears. Hell, even if it’s mediocre prose that’s something. It’ll make Vonnegut happy.

Do you hear that Bukowski?! I am trying!

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I wouldn’t call it a “process.” Most people won’t understand how ironic that statement is, until they realize I’m a classically-trained accountant. I’ve dealt with creating processes for the better part of fifteen years, and I can’t even control a pet project of mine. How funny is that?

Some of the time, it starts with a trip to a bar or a later trip to a hash house. Waffle House is the best place to write at 3:00 in the morning. Why? It’s open, and the people aren’t intellectuals. Non-intellectuals make for great people watching, because they act out more often. It’s a funnier story when the drunk guy is singing to his penis in encouragement to urinate.

I keep a mole skin journal and a mechanical pencil in my car, Falcor. No, it’s not a sports car or anything flashy. It’s a Honda Accord. I can name my car whatever I damn well please. Over a glass of cheap red wine or “luxurious” cup of Arabica coffee, I scribble sentences. More often than not, they turn into stories. I’ve yet to figure out how that happens, but it does. So, I don’t argue with it much.  After I have a “starter,” as I like to call it, I take it home to be written in a WordPress post.

Recently, I’ve also been posting them in the writer’s prompt section of Reddit, but have found it less rewarding. The people on Reddit are of low caliber, and aren’t really as mature as they need to be to discuss writing. Often times, it seems like wasted effort.

——

This is where I would pass the writing duties of the blog hop to two other bloggers. Guess what? I’m not going to do that. I don’t believe in chain posting. Good night, Seattle. We love you!

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Monday, May 19th, 2014

For the past few weeks, I’ve been performing a lot of functions outside of my comfort zone. That is to say, I’ve been practicing networking and public speaking. Some say I do it well, but I have my doubts and continue to feel like I’m reaching around in the dark. Being part of a voluntary organization is a can of worms in my mind. Today is easily further down the rabbit hole.

In addition to the newly-accepted group, I’ve volunteered to write messages to each member of the Ohio congress (some 120+) asking them to support a House bill that would protect our business from a crippling change in regulations. I’ve never considered myself a political campaign vehicle, nor acceptable in the eyes of state-government gentry. I wonder how many of these people have ever been mac ‘n’ cheese/Ramen noodle broke? Unwillingly unemployed for more than 12 months? Renovated their house themselves? Drove their car for 13 years? Sacrificed not having a family to survive?

My cheeks often flush when I think of the copious illusions given to me as a child, when all along “the cake was a lie.” It was, and it simply irritates me when people don’t understand this. If I ever make high society, it’ll be by fluke. I am not welcome there.

On a brighter note, my yard is slowly becoming more respectable with every bucket full of dirt I dump on it. It won’t be too long when I should be thinking of what trees to put in.

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Sunday, May 11th, 2014

It has been a very productive week. I’ve gotten to know more of my networking group and the landscaping is looking less “squatter-chic” and more like a house is inhabited by someone who’s not a transient. It’s so nice to be able to work on my lawn again. Sure, I was sweaty and dirty but that’s better than being in the two-foot drifts three/four months ago. This is my element.

One thing I am having trouble with is writing the next story. I’ve got the opening scene, but not an acceptable way to introduce the scene or character. It’s a little frustrating.

I suppose it’s going to be a late-night trip to Waffle House for me.

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Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Dear God, I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. That networking group has given me a lot of activities to keep me on my toes. On the down side, it has cut into my writing time. I’ve been here before though and have watched other people under the stress. Remember the metaphor of running a marathon versus sprinting? Yeah, that’s this.

I AM NOT GOING TO CALL MY WRITING A PASSION. That’s trite and it belongs in a job interview, not on my writer’s palette. If  I know only one thing of the writers I love, they don’t make overtures to their personal craft. They use it. They love it, but they don’t massage it. The passion is understood though their output. There’s no need to talk it up.

That last paragraph should read “I’m still writing.” This is the time to clutch on to my creativity like a balloon you don’t want to fly away. That’s especially so after last week’s story. It was a very difficult write, but I’m very proud of the result. It’s more soulful than my other works. It’s more alive. It’s that gritty realism very few people are comfortable acknowledging. My style is why I get suggestions to read Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and the like. I’ll get there, people.

May’s got me in a much better mood than three months ago. It’s 17° C out (62° F), and I can walk outside without wanting to erupt into profanity like Lewis Black. I’m getting some landscaping done mid-week and sooner or later I can put the screens back in the windows. I haven’t scored any big victories lately. So, the small ones will have to do.

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